Outside The Bubble

This week has not been the best of weeks. And by that I mean I’ve kind of been an emotional wreck.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe because I’m now seven weeks from first hearing the C-Word and the news is really starting to sink in. Maybe it’s because my hair started falling out. Or maybe exhaustion is just getting the best of me.

I’ve kind of been a loose canon, anything can set me off crying. I’ve had to stop reading the obituaries in the paper every day. I walked passed a funeral home the other day and teared up at the sight of a full parking lot. I also broke down after trying, and miserably failing, at contacting Microsoft about a program I own. That one involved big messy sobs with lots of snot and tears. Stupid Microsoft.

There’s also chemo brain. Such a thing really does exist. Chemotherapy affects your cognitive function and ohboy am I ever losing it. Small chunks of my day sometimes go missing and I have absolutely no recollection of them, even after people fill me in. I mix up my words when speaking. I can’t follow long explanations. I have a really hard time deciding on things to do.

So when an opportunity to take a day trip to Saint John arose, I jumped on it. It sounded like just the small adventure I needed to boost my spirits and have some fun without the sickness getting in the way of it all.


(Driving photo recreated from last week) My sister and I were able to see our grandparents who I haven’t seen in over a year! And I got to see some old friends!


Tina and I met up at Relish, a specialty burger joint found throughout the Maritimes. She’s recovering from reconstructive surgery on her ankle so we had fun exchanging hospital war stories about everything from changing IV sites to coming out of anaesthesia. She always makes me laugh!

I finally got that Relish Burger I’ve been craving like a madwoman since being in the hospital. But it was hard to pick from their menu!


The Greek Tycoon – crumbled feta cheese, marinated bell peppers and onions, kalamata olives, tzatziki sauce. So far this is my favourite Relish burger. The creamy tzatziki-feta mixture paired with the beef patty and signature soft poppyseed bun was perfection!

Saint John, New Brunswick is this stinky port city most well known for its oil refinery. The weather is always colder and without fail the fog rolls in at 6pm making it impossible to see. With all that said, it was quite pleasant wandering around the downtown and spotting some of the city’s finer points.


We later hit up Britt’s Pub & Eatery for some of the best pub food I’ve had in a while. You can tell the people at Britt’s take pride in what they serve.


I was still full from the burger, so just had half a club on a homemade grilled flatbread with thick chicken breast, thick sliced cheese, crispy bacon, and sweet mayo.

Also at the table was a tasty spinach salad with blueberries, apples, pecans, and fried goat cheese.


And a spicy pulled pork quesadilla!


All finished off with a few bites of homemade apple pie.


Made in house by one of the owner’s mothers. Flaky crust, tart apples, yeah, it was good.

Now I am completely exhausted from my day trip, but the small escape was totally worth it. Sometimes as a cancer patient, I can feel like I’m living in a bubble. The kind of sterile bubble where things revolve around fast growing cells and their treatment. The kind of bubble where I can’t hug people, where my outings are to the hospital, and my dayplanner is filled with drug schedules. Even though I had to brush my teeth in restaurant washrooms, and give myself shots in the back of a (clean) parked car, it was still nice to take a step outside the bubble and be with those who see me as more than just a “sick person.”

And this time, with no tears.

Posted on August 12, 2011, in Baking, Restaurants and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. St. Johns looks like a good (and tasty) time. That apple pie looks great! Also – I hope the trip helped pick your spirits up… :)
    Thinking of you from Ottawa!

  2. yum! are they sweet potato fries?

  3. You are such a light Susan, I hope that you can see how brightly you shine despite some pretty gloomy clouds on the horizon.
    I think it is important to acknowledge those tough days and celebrate the good ones. Just know that you are an inspiration to so many of us out here, and that you never cry alone.

  4. {{hugs}} to you Susan.

  5. Just wanted to send {{{hugs}}}

  6. I have fond memories of St. John, even having been there only once. So glad you had the opportunity to get out and about. :-)

    Thank you for sharing the broad spectrum of your healing journey. I’m a proponent of allowing emotion its time. Tears, in particular, can provide much release and relief. And, to quote wise Truvy, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

    Blessings. :-)

  7. Jennifer in Newfoundland

    Hi Susan,

    I’ve been reading your blog since hearing about the Great Fundraising Act a few weeks ago. I’m currently going through the diagnosis process of likely having MS, so while not as stressful as your situation, much of what you say resonates with me very deeply. Right now the uncertainty is the worst for me, but when thinking to the future I’m struggling with how to define myself outside of my condition, so this post was particularly poignant.

    You have a huge virtual audience rooting for you, and I just wanted to add my name to it – I wish you all the best.

    • Jennifer, I’ve spoken to a few people with MS and find that we can always relate on some level. The expensive drugs, and the uncertainty over the future. But it truly is amazing how we as humans can adapt and face whatever the universe throws at us. Let me know if you ever need some tips on self-injections. I take two a day and have already learned a lot through trial and error :\

      • Jennifer in Newfoundland

        Thanks so much Susan! I think that once the diagnosis is firm (such a tricky thing to nail down), I’ll likely take you up on that offer since pretty much all my options are self-injections. Luckily I’m not squeamish :)

        Just as an aside, I am a certified yoga instructor and have been using gentle yoga and meditation to help me through my situation so if you ever want some advice in that area, I’m happy to help.

  8. I cried, laughed and cried again with this post. I wish you all the best Susan… and hopefully you will be writing about things not related to the C-word soon!

    My prayers are with you every single day! <3

  9. I went to Britt’s in Feb. My fave part is that they actually have their own Picaroons brew! Called Britt’s Brew.

  10. Your writing and pictures are so alive. Even though it’s tough – really tough – right now, it seems like you’re taking it all in and embracing each day for its beauty and its not-so-beautiful bits too. That, I believe, is a real gift.

  11. No tears, I love how you closed that. I’m sorry it’s been sort of a sucktastic week, but it sounds like you are ending on a high note. And I am D-rooling over that apple pie! My gram makes the best apple pie (ok, I may be biased) and now I want a huge slice!

  12. Your posts are incredible, you are such an inspiration! I am sorry this week has been so hard on you. That trip looked like it was just what the dr. ordered! The food looked incredible! When you have kicked this cancers ass, I hope you write a book about it! :)

  13. Glad you had a wonderful day with no tears! You deserve that!

  14. Not that you don’t know this but….it’s ok to be angry and sad and happy and mad and the host of other emotions that rattle through you. Being real let’s others know and have permission to feel. Those qualities are some of what has endeared you to others! Thank you!

  15. You are doing a great job of living your life day by day and meeting obstacles as they come at you. This is all anyone can do honey, keep your attitude strong, and your prayers high. Life is about appreciating all the little things, and your sharing your story might help someone else in recognizing that. Don’t worry about the tears, they are a cleansing. I have a little saying on my wall that reads, “The Cure For Anything Is Salt Water……..Sweat, Tears, or the Sea.. Thank you for sharing your story, praying to the higher power for you!

  16. Tzatziki and feta is the greatest combo ever. So great you had a nice trip. :)

  17. Sorry you’ve had a tough week! It’s totally understable though. I think we’d all be a roller coaster of emotions in your place. Way to turn things around with a fun day trip! That burger looks so amazing!!! The fries too. I love sweet potato fries! You make Canada look mighty tasty! :)

  18. Feel your feelings. Allow the tears to flow. There is healing and cleansing in the tears. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  19. What Cancer Cannot Do

    Cancer is so limited.

    It cannot shatter hope.
    It cannot corrode faith.
    It cannot destroy peace.
    It cannot kill friendship.
    It cannot suppress memories.
    It cannot silence courage.
    It cannot invade the soul.
    It cannot steal eternal life.
    It cannot conquer the spirit.
    It cannot cripple love.

    Author unknown.

  20. Burgers make everything a little better, don’t they? :) It’s so great to see you posting restaurant pictures! I’m glad you got a little trip to take your mind off of things. Feeling uncontrollably emotional is so frustrating (and I can totally relate to this one- hello, PMDD) and physically removing yourself does wonders for your mental health!

  21. Yum yum yum! I’m glad you were able to get away for a bit and have some quality time with friends and family! You are looking fabulous even if you don’t feel it!

  22. I know this is silly but your outlook and writing always has me in tears at first but I’m always smiling in the end. Clearly you have a knack for writing! I’m so glad you got to go on an outing that wasn’t to the hospital.

    That burger looks delicious!!

    • Totally agreed. Susan, you are amazing! I always make sure I catch up with how you’re doing every few days. Really puts all of my small problems in perspective.

  23. Two thumbs way up for getting out and feasting on life!

  24. greensandjeans

    Glad you were able to escape for a day! And I think garlic mayo looks like it could be my new best friend.

  25. Andrew van Geest

    Saint John is a fun city. I lived there briefly in 2005 but just had to get back to the farm with my folks. We both have an appreciation for great food that is certain.That burger and fries must have been incredible.

  26. Hang in there love! You are doing awesome.

  27. Looks like you had a great trip! I absolutely LOVE sweet potato fries!

    You are doing amazing! Such inspiration you are :) XOXO

  28. Cancer sure picked the wrong girl to f$&k with…even on your down days, you’re a thousand times more positive than most of us are on our best days. Glad you had a fun time with your friend (the food certainly looks amazing!) Tomorrow will be better! It has to be – it’s Saturday!

    • Also, I was just looking at your recipe link and the chicken & feta tabbouleh looks too good to pass up. I just picked up a package of bulgur last week when we shopped (I can never find it in regular grocery stores so when I do, I tend to buy it even if I don’t need it lol) and I have some olives in the fridge to use up…sooooo looking forward to lunches next week! Thanks for the recipe & review!

  29. I do understand chemo brain since my mom went thru this along with emotional changes.. this is hard stuff, cancer, so I think you deserve to give yourself a break on that… it sucks & you have a right to say that. On a lighter note, I am so happy that you got away & just had fun!

  30. Aside from the fun outing and meeting up with friends and family, can I just say I’m sooo glad that you seem to be keeping a decent appetite? And that I’m insanely jealous of the sweet potato fries. I could probably eat them every day.

  31. Love the last paragraph. Great words. And I almost cried at the very last line. Doesn’t seem like you’re unable to make decisions, those food choices look AWESOME!!

  32. I love it! Good for you :)

  33. Tears are ok. Its ok to cry. Don’t suppress it,
    But whats with this death bullshit?! You aren’t gonna die. Stop reading papers and thinking about death. Except “death by chocolate”. Thats ok.

    You aren’t sick in my eyes. Maybe “bubbleicious?” (do you guys have that gum in Canada?) And I totally feel for you about the hair loss. But like I told you, spy girl, here you come!

  34. I’ve been craving a burger lately (This usually happens once a year) and that one looks unbelievable!
    Ps- you are so incredibly strong and inspiring. :-)

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